| Throughout this lesson, make sure to play recordings
of operas as background music whenever appropriate. Students are often
not used to classical music, and usually find the genre of opera quite
foreign. They need consistent exposure to operas unique sound
to become more comfortable with the music.
| Using the Opera
Summary organizer, begin a discussion with students about the differences
between opera and theater. Complete the organizer during the
| Watch the film version of an opera, such as Mozarts
The Magic Flute or Verdis La Traviata.
(***You can find opera videos either through your local public library
system, a local university/college with a circulating collection of
arts videos, or even your local bookstore. Alternatively, video clips
for some operas can be viewed on GREAT PERFORMANCES site http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/genre/opera.html.) After watching the opera film(s), discuss tools of exaggeration,
dramatization and fantasy. Use the Opera
Summary student organizer to collect their thoughts and impressions
about the films.
| Read plot summaries of the opera(s) watched in class
while listening to recordings of these specific operas. Plot summaries
can be obtained either from the Web site AMATO: A LOVE AFFAIR WITH
or from the book 100 GREAT OPERAS AND THEIR STORIES. Conclude by asking
students to discuss the similarities and differences between their
lives and the opera characters.
| Learning Activities:
If you have access to a digital camera, take pictures of the opera creation and performance. Digital pictures can be a great tool to document your project, and could be used for a digital presentation of the project using a slideshow program like Hyperstudio or Powerpoint.
| Days 1-3
| Have each student create a brief chronology of important
events in their life using the
All About Me student organizer. They should do this for homework
after first day. The next day, have the class review the chronologies
and select one particularly interesting life event to develop as an
| Begin opera development by forming different student
groups to perform the following jobs: plot writers, lyricists, composers
and musicians, and publishers. The four groups together will create
one opera. Explain the roles and responsibilities of each group.
| Students should work as a class to develop a general
story for the opera. Note: If you are not a music teacher, try collaborating
with your school or a neighboring schools music teacher and
pool instruments, resources, and time. Continue to brainstorm about
the opera. Develop a working title for the production.
| Days 4-9
| Plot writers and lyricists should begin to draft the
plot and lyrics. Emphasize simplicity: for example, there should be
no more than 3-5 main characters. Decide, either by class vote or
discussion, who will play the characters. In the meantime, musicians/composers
should experiment with their instruments. Publishers can create concert
posters to promote the performance.
| Work with musicians to emphasize the idea that they
are creating setting and tone through the instrumentation they choose.
Their choice of musical setting and mood should be written into the
script. Musicians group should also create a list of instruments they
will use, and how they will acquire the instruments (e.g. another
classroom, the music teacher, etc.).
| Publishers should begin to create the title page, including
the names of the characters, names of students who are participating,
| Plot writers and lyricists should begin a final version
of the script.
| The publishing group should begin typing up final draft.
| Musicians should have at least one separate rehearsal.
Actors/singers should also have at least one separate rehearsal.
| Rehearse the musicians and actors/singers together.
|Publishers should continue typing up final draft.
| Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse! Do a final dress rehearsal
| Do another final dress rehearsal.
|Publishing group should finish and print final version
| Culminating Activity/Assessment
| It's showtime! Have a performance
for just one class, possibly at the same grade level, to minimize
jitters and nervousness. Then, schedule additional performances for
other grades or parents. Record the performance using digital cameras and/or audio visual equipment.
| Give Process and
Performance Reflection organizer to students to have them evaluate